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3,200-year-old artifacts unearthed in North Cyprus

3,200-year-old artifacts unearthed in North Cyprus

ÖMER ERBİL – İSTANBUL

3,200-year-old artifacts unearthed in North Cyprus

Archeologists have unearthed some 137 pieces of artifacts dating back 3,200 years in the northern part of Cyprus.

The artifacts are believed to be the widest range of works from the late Bronze Age in the entire eastern Mediterranean region.

Bülent Kızılduman, head of the eastern Mediterranean Cultural Heritage Research Center (DAKMAR), said that they investigated the political and commercial relations between Cyprus and Anatolian civilizations within the scope of the excavations carried out in the Karpas peninsula.

The excavation site called King’s Hill is located in the village of Kaleburnu (Galinoporni) on a high hill and is nearly one and a half kilometers from the sea.

Discovered by academics from Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) during a nature walk in 2004, striking information about the history of Cyprus was obtained during the excavations at the site in the last 15 years.

Archaeological excavations initiated in cooperation with the University of Tübingen continue with participants from different countries such as the Czech Republic, Italy, Germany and Turkey.

“The site belongs to one of the important kingdoms dating back 3,200 years from the present,” Kızılduman said, adding that a large number of bronze artifacts were unearthed in the ongoing excavations.

“We aim to preserve these works first in our restoration and conservation laboratory in DAKMAR and then exhibit them in the museum we plan to establish under the roof of EMU,” he noted.

“A tablet fragment, inscriptions on ceramic pots, a stamped seal, some weights used in trade and many luxury materials unearthed inside a building are quite remarkable,” he added.

The academic also stressed that some of the works were very common in the Levant region.

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Istanbul Theater Festival on stage, screen in November

Istanbul Theater Festival on stage, screen in November

ISTANBUL

Istanbul Theater Festival on stage, screen in November

The 24th edition of the Istanbul Theater Festival will be held between Nov. 14 and Dec. 1 both on stage and online with a hybrid program.

The festival will present both physical and online performances by 29 local and international theater and dance companies. The stage performances will take place under COVID-19 measures in various venues in Istanbul such as DasDas, Fişekhane, Moda Stage, Zorlu PSM, Harbiye Muhsin Ertuğrul Stage, Babylon, Yapı Kredi bomontiada, Caddebostan Kültür Merkezi and Surp Vortvos Vorodman Church.

The performances will be available for streaming on online.iksv.org for audiences to enjoy on their screens.

From sound performances to interactive productions, the festival program presents an unusual experience this year. With many unique projects, theater enthusiasts will find themselves in a promenade theater by walking through venues in Istanbul’s famous İstiklal Street or turn their homes into a gallery.

Because of the extraordinary conditions of the pandemic and its adverse effects on the local theater scene in Turkey, the festival has decided to welcome as many local productions as possible in its physical and digital program. The majority of the online performances in the program are produced exclusively for the online platform of the festival. In the program, audiences will also see productions questioning the concept of “digital theater.”

This year, festival’s Honorary Awards will be presented to dancer and choreographer Geyvan McMillen, director Işıl Kasapoğlu and director Ivo van Hove. The festival program also features a number of events within the scope of its Learning and Training Program including panels, reader’s theaters, master classes and workshops. Details of the program will be announced on the festival’s website by late October.

Five online performances by local and international productions from the festival’s program will be available for streaming for audiences both in Turkey and around the world. “Swan Lake” by Club Guy & Roni, “Dopo La Battaglia” by Pippo Delbono Company, “Lear in the Kitchen” by Kadro Pa, “Less Than No Time” by Taldans, and “A Case Per Day” by BGST Tiyatro are the performances included in the list available for streaming with English subtitles.

There are several performances that focus on women in the festival program this year like that of “Dear Milena,” which imagines and fictionalizes the “missing parts” of the love correspondence between Franz Kafka and Milena Jesenská.

Another marvelous performance is seen in “The Revolutionist” that highlights four executed women of the French Revolution on stage.

“Hou Vast! Laat Los!” is an adaptation from Deniz Kaptan’s book “Kadın Hikâyeleri” (The Book of Women) that well expresses and justifies its title.

In “The Land of Dead Women” is one of the unique performances that will meet the eye of the audience in which one will hear the voices of women murdered by men from the afterlife.

“I Am Anatolia” is staged in memory of the legendary Turkish actress Yıldız Kenter by her students, and “A Case Per Day” picturizes seven women that tell seven COVID-19 stories.

These choices of plays have made their place in this year’s festival that will meet the audience soon.

Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) 2, a regular guest of the festival, will welcome the festival audience at a pre-festival event with a live world premiere this year. “Dare to Say” presents two programs by Alexander Ekman and Dimo Milev. The choreographers challenged the dancers of NDT 2 and created different approaches to movement in response to the restrictions imposed by COVID-19. These two programs will be broadcast live from The Hague on Nov. 6 for audiences to enjoy from the comfort of their living rooms.

The festival will host four international productions as part of its program. “Diagonale Ascendante” by the French company Retouramont will be performed live in Istanbul at Yapı Kredi bomontiada on Nov. 14 and 15, while the other three productions will meet the audience on digital platforms.

This year the festival is bringing stage actor Metin Akpınar’s extraordinary career spanning over 60 years to screen through the renowned film, “İyi ki Yapmışım,” which is a unique production that shines light on the artist’s career and entire life.

In the documentary many artists, authors and scholars, such as Demet Akbağ, Umur Bugay, Ferhan Şensoy, Ahmet Gülhan, Dikmen Gürün, Kandemir Konduk, Perran Kutman, Nevra Serezli, Selma Sonat, Zeynep Oral and friends who have witnessed his life, will be seen sharing their memories about Akpınar.

Tickets will be put up for sale on Oct. 23.

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Artweeks@Akaretler ready to amuse art lovers

Artweeks@Akaretler ready to amuse art lovers

ISTANBUL

Artweeks@Akaretler ready to amuse art lovers

An annual art event in Istanbul, Artweeks@Akaretler, featuring open-public exhibitions and art talks, will be organized free of charge between Oct. 28 and Nov. 8.

The works of the artists who took part in the much-loved projects, such as ‘A Year in the Passage,’ ‘Impressions from Anatolia,’ and ‘Workshop Cer,’ produced by the İyilik İçin Sanat Association, will be on display at the event to amuse art enthusiasts.

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Radios take on journey in history

Radios take on journey in history

MUĞLA

Radios take on journey in history

Nearly 1,000 radios, cassettes and record players donated to the Menteşe Municipality in the western province of Muğla by Mustafa Bektaş, who has been working as a radio repairer for 52 years in his six-square-meter shop in the city, are taking visitors on a trip down memory lane.

Bektaş, 66, who is working in the historical Arasta Bazaar in the Menteşe district, has collected electronic items that customers forgot and could not be repaired for years in his shop and in his home warehouse.

Known as the last radio repairer of the city, Bektaş decided to donate these radio, cassette and record players to the Menteşe Municipality for display.

Menteşe Mayor Bahattin Gümüş and Deputy Mayors Leyla Ersöz and Levent Ünver have recently received the items from Bektaş and they were taken to the municipality. Now some 1,000 radio, cassette and record players, started to be exhibited in the culture houses of the municipality after their maintenance.

Speaking to the state-run Anadolu Agency, he said he began the profession when he was 14 years old.

Stating that radio was an important communication tool in the past, Bektaş said, “In the past, not everyone could receive radio. There used to be a radio in coffeehouses in the villages. The villagers gathered in the coffeehouses to listen to the news.”

Stating that radio repair is a very good profession, Bektaş explained that he sometimes repaired a radio by working in 10 minutes and sometimes for days. Bektaş said that he felt like the happiest person in the world when he fixed the broken radio.

“I will continue my profession as much as I can. My biggest regret is not being able to train an apprentice. This profession is about to disappear completely. When I close the shop, nobody can fix radios in Muğla because there are no professionals. All of them died,” he said.

“Something needs to be done so that these professions are not forgotten. For years I did not throw away the irreparable or forgotten radios, gramophones and auto tapes brought to the shop. We should know their value. Thanks to Menteşe Municipality, they are now on display,” he added.

Gümüş stated that Bektaş is one of the last masters who can continue his profession in the historical Arasta Bazaar.

Stating that Bektaş applied to them to evaluate the radio, tape and record players he had kept for half a century, Gümüş said, “All of Usta’s savings is our past, our history. We sent some of them for recycling and have contributed them to the economy. We exhibit the rest in the museum-shaped Muğla Houses restored by our municipality.”

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Plastic found in Caretta caretta’s digestive system

Plastic found in Caretta caretta’s digestive system

ANTALYA

Plastic found in Caretta caretta’s digestive system

Plastic material has been found in 60 percent of the digestive systems of dead and injured Caretta carettas within the scope of a project conducted jointly with the countries that have coasts to the Mediterranean.

It has been reported that approximately 40,000 Caretta carettas die annually in the Mediterranean.

Striking results have been found in the first leg of the project, indicating the plastic pollution in the Mediterranean.

The Sea Turtles Research, Rescue and Rehabilitation Center (DEKAMER) is carrying out the EU-funded project, known as INDICIT, with Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Tunisia, Greece and Cyprus.

The head of DEKAMER, Pamukkale University Department of Biology Professor Yakup Kaska, pointed out that although a sea turtle was rescued from nets or needles, it was not enough for it to survive. He said that the fishing lines found in their digestive system pose a great threat to the life of sea turtles.

Stating that approximately 60 injured or dead sea turtles come to DEKAMER annually, Kaska said, “Within the scope of our EU project, foreign materials in their digestive system are examined one by one. A total of 1,100 Caretta carettas have been examined so far.”

Kaska noted that the things that came out of their bodies were mostly plastic pieces, products containing foam, small foreign materials such as fishing lines and tin pieces apart from grasses, which is a part of their food chain.

As a result of the investigations made by eight countries, Kaska said that plastic materials were found in 60 percent of their digestive systems during the treatment of injured turtles and as a result of the necropsy of those who were found dead.

“Turtles in Turkey have less plastic than those in other countries. The rate in Greece and Tunisia is a little more than ours, like 60-65 percent. In other countries, it is close to 70 percent because the pollution rate is higher as there is also pollution coming from the Atlantic and Gibraltar.”

Kaska also said that the reported number of dead Caretta carettas in Turkey was around 200 annually.

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Exhibition sheds light on ancient daily life

Exhibition sheds light on ancient daily life

ISTANBUL

Exhibition sheds light on ancient daily life

Istanbul’s Rezan Has Museum opened a new exhibition titled “Archeology of Daily Life,” which reveals a history of 9,000 years through 400 pieces of daily life, covering 6,500 B.C. and 1,300 A.D., on display that peeps into the lifestyle of Anatolia and the surrounding civilizations back then.

The exhibition gives a glimpse of the ordinary days of the civilizations that formed Anatolia and left an everlasting impression on the Turkish culture and traditions.

Speaking about the exhibition, Rezan Has Museum’s Coordinator Zeynep Çulha said that the exhibition comprises a selection of daily life items from the museum’s collection of 3,000 pieces and that the works in the exhibition shed light on the everyday lifestyle of Anatolian civilizations. She stated that the work for the exhibition lasted about four months and that the meeting with visitors was postponed due to the pandemic.

Talking about how the exhibition came about and what all it includes, Çulha said: “This exhibition is actually a continuation of the previous exhibit ‘Heritage of the Land.’ We also wanted to include the exhibition ‘Whispers of Extinct Languages,’ which we planned to introduce last year but could not physically open due to the pandemic. It was presented online on our website instead.”

Noting that the exhibition ”Archeology of Daily Life” deals with a life story of nearly 9,000 years from the Neolithic period to the Seljuk, Çulha said: “We called this exhibition ‘Archeology of Daily Life’ because we have an uninterrupted archeology, and we made the display in the same style. We started with the Neolithic period and continued until the end of the Seljuks. The content of our collection generally covers the Anatolian region, but of course, we can see artifacts from civilizations close to Anatolia as well.”

“We especially display the same tools and equipment used in different periods in order to be able to recognize and understand the changes. We tried to put oil lamps, censer, and bowls of each period so that the viewers of the exhibition will be able to see the change in aesthetic understanding between periods,” Çulha said, describing the different items that one can see at the exhibit.

The exhibition tours are held three times a day, at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., in accordance with the new type of coronavirus measures, allowing a limited number of participants at a time.

Visitors can enjoy this visual delight to feel the essence of the ancient lifestyle through the medium of the exhibition at Rezan Has Museum until May 31, 2021.

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Oldest painting of Muslim mystic sold at auction

Oldest painting of Muslim mystic sold at auction

ISTANBUL

Oldest painting of Muslim mystic sold at auction

An important seventeenth-century painting of a prominent Muslim mystic was sold at auction in Germany to a Dutch-based scholar, a Turkish academic said.

The 1651 painting of Haji Bektash Veli, a prominent Alevi religious figure who lived and taught in Anatolia from 1209 to 1271, was sold to Mehmet Tütüncü, head of the Research Centre for the Arabic and Turkish World in Haarlem, the Netherlands.

Tütüncü told Anadolu Agency that the painting, measuring 22 x 17 centimeters could be the oldest existing painting of the Muslim icon.

“I was very excited because when I read the Ottoman text under the picture, I realized that it is the oldest picture of Haji Bektash Veli,” he explained.

He added that the painting may have come from a large book.

UNESCO declared 2021 the year of Haji Bektash Veli, another factor which makes the painting very important, Tütüncü said.

“Haji Bektash Veli is a very important name historically. He is also the guide for the Janissaries, the most important division of the Ottoman army. He is an important element of Alevi and Bektash culture,” Tütüncü said.

Up to now all the paintings known of Haji Bektash Veli came from the 19th or 20th centuries, so this 17th century painting broke ground, he explained.

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Idyma ancient city comes to surface

Idyma ancient city comes to surface

MUĞLA

Idyma ancient city comes to surface

Surveys have begun in the ancient city of Idyma, which was established at an altitude of 250 meters from the sea, on the slopes of the Gökova district of Ula, overlooking the Gulf of Gökova in the southwestern province of Muğla.

Also, excavations have been continuing in the historical Akyaka castle, dating back to the Byzantine period, in the touristic Akyaka district, which had been a neighborhood of the Idyma ancient city in ancient times under the presidency of Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University Archeology Department’s Associate Professor Abdulkadir Baran.

“We started works in the Akyaka Castle, which is a part of the ancient city, as Ula Municipality. As the castle started to attract attention, a team of 30 people will start working here, including 20 workers and 10 teachers,” Ula Mayor İsmail Akkaya said.

Stating that they want to contribute to cultural tourism in addition to the sea, sand and sun of Akyaka, the mayor said: “We will put the castle into the service of tourism after it completely comes to the surface.”

“In 2000, we unearthed the rock tombs in this region by collaborating with the Highways Directorate. We set a date for like one year. But in the future, when artifacts begin to emerge here, I hope that the Culture and Tourism Ministry will also support the works here,” Akkaya added.

[HH] Idyma ancient city

Since Idyma is a name of Anatolian origin, the history of the city is estimated to be very old. While the similarity of its name with the place named “Utima,” mentioned in Hittite texts, supports the ancient origin of the city, Idyma, which is not mentioned much in ancient sources, was called a city in Caria or the city of Idyma near the Idymos river.

Silver coins minted by the city in the fifth century B.C. show its economic development. Although it is suggested that the city is not directly connected to Rhodes and is one of the settlements under its administration, it will be clarified in the excavations to be carried out.

While there is not very clear data on the early history of the city, it is suggested that the fortification system of the city can be dated to the fifth and sixth centuries B.C., especially due to the presence of the Archaic-looking wall lines. During the researches, ceramics dating back to the fifth century B.C. and after were found on the surface.

Although it is not clearly known whether it was on the seashore in the early periods, it had always been an important city with its access to both the gulf and the inner parts of Caria, and its position controlling the intersection point of the valleys, which were transition points in ancient times.

The city, which is located on the southern slope of a hill and has an inner and an outer castle, is a typical Caria city. The lower slopes in the south of the city and especially the rocky parts in the southeast side functioned as a necropolis.

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Roman and Byzantine era mosaics in Kazlıçeşme

Roman and Byzantine era mosaics in Kazlıçeşme

ISTANBUL

Roman and Byzantine era mosaics in Kazlıçeşme

Ancient mosaics, unearthed in Istanbul’s Zeytinburnu Kazlıçeşme and believed to belong to the Late Roman and early Byzantine period, have been introduced with the theme of “Four Times Four Stories One Space” at the Zeytinburnu Kazlıçeşme Cultural Center.

The Zeytinburnu Mosaics, which were found during the restoration of the historical building in Kazlıçeşme, where the Zeytinburnu Municipality was located for years, were introduced at a symposium organized by the Zeytinburnu Municipality on Oct. 22.

The opening of the symposium, where the culture, traditions and values of different times were discussed, was done by Zeytinburnu Mayor Ömer Arısoy.

Speaking at the symposium, Arısoy stated that Zeytinburnu was located on important treasures just like Istanbul.

Noting that the efforts to transform Zeytinburnu into a culture valley started in 1999, he said, “In line with the suggestions of the late architect Turgut Cansever, who knew the historical and cultural potential of the region, a cultural restoration move was undertaken to create a Culture Valley, while many works were revived, the region was reconstructed according to urbanism principles and this long-running project now blossoms.”

Speaking about the mosaics, Professor Asnu Bilban Yalçın said, “Zeytinburnu mosaics and the similar are actually material witnesses of the transition to a new order, the continuation and change of cultural production, which we define as the late Roman period.”

“The ornamentation and formulation of the magnificent flooring here show us how strongly the Roman common cultural language continues,” he added.

Pointing out the significance of the mosaics, Yalçın said, “These magnificent floor mosaics, which have been discovered as a result of a coincidence in the historical building of Zeytinburnu Municipality, will provide important information that will contribute to the historical topography, artistic and cultural accumulation of Istanbul.”

Archaeologist Nezih Başgelen said that for a biography work, they had found the notebooks of Rüstem Duyuran, one of the archeologists of the Istanbul Archeology Museum. Stating that Duyuran’s notebooks also include visuals, Başgelen said, “There are all stages of the emergence of the mosaic in front of the province in his notebooks.”

The area where the Zeytinburnu Mosaics are located, and the historical building that has been used as the building of the Zeytinburnu Municipality for 25 years, was actually the battlefield for a long time after the late Roman and early Byzantine period.

During the Ottoman period in the 18th century under the reign of Sultan Mahmud II, the building served as Cebehane Hospital and in 1847 as a military hospital. Later, it served as a dormitory for officers’ children, military service branch, sales place, and finally, as the building of Zeytinburnu Municipality for 25 years.

When the municipality moved to the new building, a three-year restoration process began. During the restoration, a mosaic from the Roman period, dating back to the fifth century, was found and presented to visitors under a protection glass.

However, with the possibility of finding other mosaic motifs outside the building, excavations have been continuing in the garden. The building has been opened to visitors under the name Kazlıçeşme Sanat, and after the ongoing excavations are completed, the building will serve as a mosaic museum.

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Sand pyramid in resort town on way to enter records book

Sand pyramid in resort town on way to enter records book

ANTALYA

Sand pyramid in resort town on way to enter records book

An imitation of the Pyramid of Cheops, which was made using 1,000 tons of sand five years ago as part of the International Antalya Sand Sculpture Festival, is preparing to enter the Guinness Book of Records with the title of the longest standing sand sculpture.

The pyramid, which was built in the festival held with the theme of “World Wonders” in 2015 in the Mediterranean province of Antalya, was not demolished, unlike other works, but was protected by the festival administration instead.

An application was made for the pyramid, which has been preserved for five years with great care, to be included in the Guinness Book of Records as “the longest standing sand sculpture.”

Noting that about a thousand ton of sand was used to create the sculpture, Cem Karaca, the festival director, said that the seven-meter-high pyramid was built by three sand sculptors in 15 days.

Stating that they did not want to demolish the pyramid, which was built on a scale factor of one to 20 replicating the original in 2015, Karaca expressed that they wish to immortalize the pyramid, even though it was made of sand and despite the changing themes.

“While the longest-lasting sand sculpture identified survived for years, this statue has been standing for five years,” Karaca said, adding that he hopes it will enter the record book at the end of the application process.

The next leg of the festival, where more than 200 sand sculptures are exhibited every year, will take place in 2021.